Longevity logo

Are destructive thought-patterns controlling your life?

by MCJ 2 years ago in mental health
Report Story

'11 destructive thought-patterns!'

Photocredits: Pexels.

A person has about 40,000- 60,000 thoughts a day. In a positive person, 70% of these thoughts are negative. Why? Fear! Yup, fear is the main motivator of these negative thoughts, because the brain is constantly thinking how it can prevent us from emotional pain, fear of being rejected, depression, loneliness, etc. Sadly, most people engage a lot of time (un)consciously automatically battling almost every negative thought, forgetting that thoughts are actually a phenomenon on their own.

Thoughts that come to our minds arise from life events; light / heavy trauma, your upbringing; (automatic) thought patterns that you have developed through parents and others, media, school, work, or sensory perceptions that are stored in your brain. If you look at the definition of the verb thoughts it says the following

A thought is part or the result of the thought process. A thought can just arise, from the subconscious or from other conscious thoughts - one thought can lead to another. A thought can be evoked by observations - an image, smell or sound and other stimuli. DEFINITION: THOUGHTS

So a thought only becomes valuable when you make it a priority or if you already made it a priority. Today I will be talking about various automatic destructive thought patterns. Just to give you more inside about which destructive thought patterns(s) cycle(s) you have to break to improve your overall health.

1.) Mental Filter

This fallacy is characterized by a kind of tunnel vision - looking at only 1 element of a situation and excluding all other elements. You pick out a detail and that detail colors the whole situation or event. For example, if you receive 10 compliments and 1 criticism, you only focus on the criticism you have received. This is because your memory is selective. When you filter memories, you often skip the positive memories and think about memories that are negatively charged.

2.) Draw premature conclusions

Instead of waiting to see how logical "evidence" leads you to a certain conclusion, you quickly draw your own (often negative) conclusion. Then look for evidence for your conclusion and ignore other arguments. If you often draw premature conclusions, you may also recognize that you are very good at "mind reading" (you think you are able to know the real intentions of other people without talking to them about it). But you also love to predict things (you predict how the future will be and then assume that it will happen that way.)

3.) Personalize

There are two types of personalization: The first is to compare yourself to others. She / he plays the guitar so much better than I do. She / he is so much smarter than me. She / he has achieved so much more in life. Or the other way around, I am much smarter than her. The possibilities to compare are endless and even if it turns out positive you will feel relieved for a moment, but soon you will doubt whether it is really the case. If you pull the short end, you will feel less. The second form of personalization is the following. You blame yourself for everything that goes wrong in your life. Even for the things you can't control. For example, you blame yourself for all the misfortunes and bad luck that have happened in your life. Is anyone moody or curt? Then you immediately wonder what you have done. All the way home you worry about it and you barely sleep at night. It is very nice that you want to take responsibility for everything, but often it becomes a burden that in turn leads to strong feelings of guilt and regret.

4.) Thinking all or nothing

This is black and white thinking that does not allow shades of gray. It is either this or that. Someone is nice or not nice. You are good or bad. A movie is great or just awful. You must not make mistakes or you will be a failure. Whatever happens, you immediately have a strict judgment. Because your interpretations are extreme, so are your emotions.

5.) Disaster thinking

If you fail a test you immediately think that you will not complete your entire education. Or if your boss criticizes you, you already think he will fire you soon. When you have a headache, you already think of a brain tumor. Thoughts of disaster always start with the following four words. Imagine that… You read an article in the newspaper about an airplane that crashed. The first thing you wonder is what if I was on that plane?

6.) Overgeneralize

You draw a general conclusion based on a single incident or evidence. You are not able to make a certain dish and your conclusion is: “I can't cook!” You can interpret a rejection of a lady as: “No lady wants to go out with me.” Once nauseous on a boat you already decide that you never want to travel by boat again. This fallacy can lead to your life becoming increasingly limited. A bad experience immediately means that it will be exactly the same in a similar situation. Overgeneralization is often cast in absolute statements. Signal words that indicate that you are over-generalized are: all, every, none, never, always, everyone, nobody. > I will never be able to trust anyone again.

Another feature of overgeneralization is having a comprehensive qualification for a person, place or things you don't like or agree with. Someone that doesn’t want to give you a ride home is selfish. You call a boy who is silent on your first date boring. This qualification may contain some truth, but it is not entirely true. However, it is true for you. This ensures stereotyping and one-dimensional thinking.

7.) Should and have to

You apply very strict rules for yourself and others about the way in which everyone should act. These rules are correct and are not up for debate. Everything or everyone that deviates from these rules (norms & values) is bad. The result is that you often judge others and have something to say about them. People can annoy you quickly. You should and have to be as difficult for yourself as for others. You also feel compelled to behave this way. However, you don't ask yourself if this makes sense. Examples of should and have to; I should never feel emotions like jealousy or anger, I have to be able to endure setbacks right away.

8.) Labeling / sticking labels

If you stick labels, you are mainly assessing situations as right or wrong. He is strange. She is amazing. I always run into the same problem. These kinds of statements ensure that a very limited picture emerges, with the chance of generalizations. Sticking labels leaves people with a stamp that does not always apply and it prevents us from seeing ourselves and others as they are.

9.) Exaggerate / Minimize

A characteristic of this thinking pattern is when you make things much bigger or smaller than they are. You see a mistake as a dramatic mistake. You see a light-hearted comment as negative criticism. you experience mild back pain as a broken vertebra. Small setbacks bring you great despair. You see small obstacles as large barriers. But you can also think the other way around.

A sub-characteristic of this thinking pattern is when you exaggerate the abilities of another and reduce your own abilities. So you are taking yourself down and putting others on a mushroom. You do this by waving away the good things you are doing and your good character traits. As if they don't matter.

10.) Emotional reasoning

You use feeling as evidence. When you do this, you view your feelings about a particular situation as evidence instead of looking at the facts objectively. I feel completely powerless, which is why I am unable to solve my problem. Or: I am angry with you, so you must be wrong, otherwise I would not be so angry with you. Both are examples of feeling as evidence.

11.) The blame game (Externalize)

You often blame things that go wrong on your employer, partner, friends, parents, children. Everyone except yourself. You are good, the other is wrong. You don't have to answer because the other is wrong. This is very comfortable for the ego. Often you also want to be compensated for what has been done to you ( hear an excuse). It may also be that if you are criticized, you quickly look for the negatives of the others to ensure that attention is drawn to them, so that you do not have to change your behavior.

It is important to become aware of your destructive thought pattern(s). Because these negative thoughts patterns hinder your personal growth. Consequently promoting a fixed mindset/ mental stiffness.

Melisa D.Halley

Interested in more articles like this? Go to www.thewotsfoundation.com

mental health

About the author


Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2022 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.